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Creating a Successful Layout
Topic Started: Feb 2 2007, 05:08 PM (2,728 Views)
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Creating a Successful Layout
So you want to start a forum? You have the perfect skin and button set? Well there is still more work to do to begin your own forum. You have to create a layout for it. In this documentation, I will tell you how to create a successful layout. Make sure you follow carefully, because something misread may be an important part of your layout.

This documentation will be about the layouts of popular themes -- Resource, Animé, Gaming, Music, and General Chat.

I. Resource Forum
----A. Resource Controls
----B. Resource Body
----C. Resource Lounge
II. Animé
----A. Animé Controls
----B. Animé Body
----C. Animé Lounge
III. Gaming
----A. Gaming Controls
----B. Gaming Body
----C. Gaming Lounge
IV. Music
----A. Music Controls
----B. Music Body
----C. Music Lounge
V. General Chat
----A. General Chat Controls
----B. General Chat Body
----C. General Chat Lounge

Contents Legend:
[THEME NAME] Controls:
The main forum which holds the Announcements, Comments and Crit, etc. It may be used for other things like Contests, and Hidden Staff forums.

The bulk of your forum. This section would hold the Discussion about the Theme, and many extra things that you can add to make your forum unique.

[THEME NAME] Lounge:
This area holds the general chat forums, advertising, and anything that you want to add about general discussion.
Resource Forum Layouts
Resource forums usually have the most forums, and take the most time. They are very hard to make pleasing, considering that most Resource Forums have the same layout. It's hard to make it unique, but hopefully once you are done reading this, you will be able to make one of the better of Resource Forum Layouts.

Resource Control Forums
In this category, you should have an easy to navigate forum arrangement. You have to have an Announcements forum, or else no one would be able to know anything new about the forum. That should really be the first forum that you add to any of your forums. Also, try to make even the name unique. If you are going for the "Rest Stop" theme, you should make it something like "Bulletin Board" or "Information Booth." If you are going for intelligent style, try using something like "News Panel." There are many choices, so be creative.

The next forum should be a place where people can give comments and suggestions. They can post Congrats topics, and can read important topics that have to do with your forum. Try using another unique name to keep the flow going. Be sure to add something like a FAQ in this forum so the members don't have to add many spam topics asking simple questions that could be displayed in the FAQ.

In an optional sense, whenever you have any contests about the forum, put them in the same Category as the Category with the Annoucements(above).

You should also have only staff visible forums. They can be used for talk about promotions, demotions, etc. You can either make a whole new Category for the Staff Forums, or just add them below the Comment and Crit/Contest forums.

Resource Body Forums
Resource Body Forums are usually very large. They contain Skins, Graphics, and occasionally Forum Services. There are many things to be added to them, and it is very hard to be unique with them. You know you have to added a Staff Skins/Graphics and a Member Skins/Graphics, so it is hard to be unique with those forums. A way to be unique is always in the name. Try changing member skins to something like "Users Expressing Skins" or for the Graphics,"Users Expressing Graphics." It may sound corny, but new members always have an interest in oddly named forums.

You have to add all of the basics first of all. Staff Skins, Member Skins, Skinning Discussion, Skin Battles, and Skin Requests[optional]. Same goes for the graphics side. And again, being unique really helps. Try adding a different skin service. Maybe something like "Image Order", where you can order your imagesto put right on your skin. Why limit yourself to that? Go big. Make something so big that members will fall in love with it. It's your forum. Do what you want, and what you can.

If you need, you can also add a forum services area. It can handle Reviews, Support, Modifications, Rip Reporting, etc. Try adding different services. Be original. Make something both exciting, and very useful. Make sure that you get another administrator to give his or her opinion along with a select few of Staff Managers. Maybe they have Ideas, try everything on for size.

Resource Forum Lounge
The Resource Forum Lounge is the place for everyone - so make it so. Add something for everyone. Make sure you have a General Chat Forum. Maybe add a Technology forum. A Sports Forum. And how could you forget Forum Games? Add all that you think would please your members.

I'm sure that your members would like a place for them to advertise their forum. Try to make a unique name on this also, it will bring up your uniquity. And don't forget a welcomeing forum, equipped with a welcoming Multi-Mod.
Animé Layouts
Although you don't hear about them very much, Animé forums are very popular. I've seen many with a terrible layout so I chose to add it to my tutorial. Sometimes Animé layouts can be a handful, so be sure to read carefully, and take in as much information as you can so you can make your best Animé layout that you can make.

Animé Controls
The Animé controls are very similar to the Resource Controls, just with a little difference. Sometimes an Administrator would want to have the Welcome Forum in this section, because sometimes they have an RPG in it, encouraging the Administration to make the forum totally themed to that RPG.They would use the Controls section as the welcoming point to the RPG, for instance maybe it takes place on an island. When a member first joined, they are dropped off by a plane to the island, at maybe, a Ranger's Station. You would be surprised what an imagination that you have.

Like the Resource forum, it is also a good idea to add staff forums. They can help you manage your forum so you don't have to always go on AIM or MSN. It's very useful.

Make sure that you add every unique add-on to this section, because this is the first thing that your members will see once they click the link or sign on.

Animé Body
The Animé Body Categories are pretty much "freestyle" forums. You can add anything that you want to them, as long as you stay on the Animé topic. Maybe you are a forum about a specific Animé Show. You want to always have a general chat about it, if your Forum is about a specific Show/Game. It always helps to bring in more people who really like that Show or Game.

Remember, you always need to try and go for originality. Try to add something for reviews and previews of anything that is related to Animé. People can enjoy your forum, and learn a thing of two. Try all that you can to add to please your members.

Animé Lounge
Like the two themes above, you want to have anything that you think the members with talk about. Sports, Media, Forum Games, Technology, etc. Do what you think is necessary.

Don't forget to have a Forum Advertising Forum. Maybe adding an Affiliate sign up will bring more members. Try a lot of things. Make sure that you and your staff members all agree on it.
Gaming Forum Layout
Gaming forum layouts are also ones with many forum contained in them. Sometimes they can be hard to navigate, but I'll give you suggestions on how to make it as easy to navigate as possible. It may be hard, but it's very well possible. Make sure you read carefully on this part.

Gaming Controls
In some cases this section may be very different conpared to the other themes. It usually has a Gaming News, and an Announcements forum seperate, which adds another forum to the mix. Some gaming forums also have their Introduction forum in the controls category so they can add more general chat topics if a member only likes one game system, etc. There are mant choice for this section, or once again, be unique. The uniquity of a forum can make the difference between activity and inactivity.

As I was saying about the Gaming News forum. They really come in handy for the forum. If you add Staff's Gaming News and Member's Gaming News, you will get double to the incoming news. That really help in the activity because once the member sees that there is news available, maybe that member will check up regularly to see if there is any new news. On their dayly checkup, maybe that member sees an interesting topic in the below gaming forums. He or she wants to post there, giving your Gaming Forum more activity. Think of it next time you need activity on a gaming forum.

Gaming Body
This is where the gaming layout gets technical. You want to offer all discussion types of all gaming systems. ou don't want to fill up on forums, so make all of the different companies instead of the systems. For instance, instead of putting PlaystationOne, and then PlaystationTwo, just put them in subforums of a forum called "Sony Company." It will make the forum faster because it doesn't have to load so much, and the members will be happy because it is easier to navigate, and you don't have to scoll down so much to get to the Board Statistics.

A smart thing to do would be to add something different, like a "Future Game Systems" forum, to discuss things like the PS3 and the Wii. From experience, I know that members like to chat about new systems that they are waiting for.

You also may want to add a Game Cheat Database. Members really like to cheat, sadly, and they also like to comment and test cheats. It could bring more activity for your forum also. Don't forget to add this to your Gaming forum. But don't forget to pick out a select few to occasionally submit cheats, as a Support Team Member would Submit Documentations.

Another great thing to add would be to add Reviews and Previews forums. Members and Staff can Submit Reviews so that another member can figure out if he or she wants to buy that game and play it. The members really like pleasing services.

Gaming Lounge
To keep the members happy, you have to always add the general chat forums. Try to keep them normal, because you want the focas to be on the Gaming Body section. Keep it like the other layouts, having forums for all types of discussion. It's always good to keep your focus on your main forums, and not on your general chat. But it's good to give it some spotlight, because in the end, the general chat forums usually take in the most posts.
Music Forum Layout
Ahh, the good old music forum. Very generic these days. But like I've said, most layouts are terrible of late. I'll do my best for you members to make the best layout you can make. Music forums can be very demanding, so I'll try to be as detailed as I can be when explaining about the body of the layout in this situation. It can turn out to be much different than the next music forum. In this section, you really have to read carefully.

Music Controls
Like most of the other themes that I've explained, you have to have Announcements, and Comments and Crit forums. You can add different things like in the Gaming Forums, Music News. Members like to read up on the newest albums and singles about their favorite bands. Also like in most of the other Layout themes, it is smart to add forums that only Staff can see, so you can chat about additions, promotions, demotions, etc.

Adding music contests is a very good thing to do also. when you add the contests, the members become more interested in checking up on the forum to see if they won, or who one.

Music Body
The music body really can differ with different owners. Some music forums are mainly about one type of music. Let's say that the owner of the music forum really likes Rap. So that person would make a category about rap, including News with Rap, general rap chat, etc. Then he would make another category simply stating the different genres other than rap.

Or maybe the forum is an all around music forum. Instead of just having a category of Rap with different "services", each genre has 2 and 3 subforums with services on every genre. So if any member comes that is interested in music, he or she can go to their favorite genre's forum, and see whats new with the news, and maybe post around.

You see, I can't help you make the perfect layout, I can only guide you. And this is mostly what I am doing in this section of this tutorial. There are many ways to make a good layout for gaming. But i gave you the basics. So now you can go out and make a great layout.

Music Lounge
The music lounge here is like all of the others. A general chat most of all, and then usually with Sports, Forum Games, and a Plug Your Forum. You may choose to put the Introductions in this forum. It's a smarted thing so that the Controls Category doesn't get too big.
General Chat Forum Layout
General Chat forums usually have a small amount of forums, but they usually all have a lot of meaning. Even sometimes, there may be only 3 categories, giving people less places to post. Sometimes that can be a bad thing. So try to add forums. Instead of making a subforum, make the "forumee" a different category, and the subforums the formal forums. Remember that you should only do that if there are many subforums. You don't want members to not be able to know that there is another forum to post in. This may be a hard one to explain, so pay attention.

General Chat Controls
I've said this many times, but the controls are just like the others ones. The announcements, Comments and Crit, etc. But usually in the General Chat Controls you keep the Contest Forum there all of the time. If you do that, then the members can visit all of the time to see if there are any new Contests all of the time. This can increase the activity. And don't forget about adding the Staff Forums to discuss staff things.

General Chat Body
The general Chat Body usually consists of 1 to 2 categories. One for all General Chat topics, ones to go in the Lounge. Things like a General Chat Forum, Media, Sports, and Technology. All of them in their own forum, but with each a subforum for more specific topics in them.

In the next Category should have Some forums like Gaming, or something that is big and deserves it's own category. But make sure you keep it related to the General Chat "Theme."

General Chat Lounge
This time, It's a little different. You don't have a General Chat to add, so you have to think of something different to add instead. To let's think about it. You need an Introduction Forum. So you have one so far. Now you know that you need to add a Plug Your Forum. So thats two. You want to aim for about 3 to 5 forums here. So think of what you didn't add to your other forum.

Ahh, a forum games forum! You need to have that. Members love those to just play some nice games. Now you want something unique. A place that the members will love to check up on. Something where they can express theirselves. How about...Clubs! Members can create their own clubs, join clubs, and just have a nice time with their friend members. It would be a great place to meet new friends.
Thanks for Reading!
I really hope that I took my time and tried my best to please you and help you out in creating a successful layout. Do Not rip this documentation. If I find that you have ripped parts of or the whole documentation, I will report you, and you will be punished. Thanks for reading.

This Documentation is © to Deletion./Incarnated of Zeta Evolution and The Invisionfree Skin Zone.
Edited by Perron, Aug 28 2008, 11:45 AM.
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Well Done!

Your documentation has been approved transferred to the Board Management forum.

We appreciate your entry and encourage you to continue building great tutorials/DOCs to help the InvisionFree and Skin Zone communities.

IF Skin Zone
Edited by Perron, Aug 28 2008, 12:20 PM.
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